In 1950, the United Methodist Conference appointed Charles W. Cox to begin a church in the city of Los Altos on some beautiful property, owned by the Conference, across the street from Rancho Shopping Center on Fremont Avenue. In August, eighty people were gathered under the oak trees alongside the creek (approximately where the church office is situated today), a pulpit was built and, with folding chairs, they began services. As it became colder, services were held in the Los Altos Theater on Main Street.
These founding members raised money to build the first building by picking and drying apricots and selling them. The old Social Hall was the first building (Creekside Center now stands in that spot) and was used for church services, Sunday School and fellowship. Then the Sunday School building was constructed (where the library and classrooms are now) followed by the parsonage. The parsonage was razed during the major building campaign of 1998 when the new Music room and Live Oak room were built along with a new driveway and parking area. Another part of the major building campaign of 1998 was the Children’s Center that was built to accommodate up to 300 preschool children.
Click here for an informative video on the history of the church campus and buildings (6 minutes long).
The church was called “The Community Church of Los Altos.” We have always been open to the community, sharing our space and opening our doors for all to enter and have the opportunity to be part of our church community.
In 1968, the name of the Methodist Church was changed by the General Conference to United Methodist and we became the “Los Altos United Methodist Church.” We remain a church that reaches out and now have become a regional church with people attending from Morgan Hill to San Mateo, from Santa Cruz to Fremont.
We have had just a few senior pastors in our 60+ year history. Reverend Charles (Chuck) Cox served here for 19 years, Rev. Myron Herrell was here for 9 years, Rev. John Dodson was here for 21 years, and Rev. Dr. Mark Bollwinkel served for 15-1/2 years. In July 2014, we welcomed a new senior pastor, Rev. Mariellen Yoshino.
Today, LAUMC has 2500 members, 2500 constituents, 900 each week in worship attendance, a $2.4M operating budget and is one of the Northern California leaders in the United Methodist denomination. We are a group of people defined by an ever-present restlessness to do more. It is not enough for us to have experienced the power and love of God’s grace and possibility. We want to share that with others. We want to share it with the world.
Praise the Lord!